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Jarir Bookstore sees slowdown in sales growth

Saudi computer retailer only records modest rise in annual revenues

Jarir Bookstore sees slowdown in sales growth
Jarir continues to be one of the largest suppliers of mobile PCs and other consumer IT equipment in the Saudi market with annual revenues of almost US$700m.

The days of soaring double-digit sales growth in the Saudi retail channel could be over after audited financial statements released by market powerhouse Jarir revealed the company only saw a minimal increase in revenues last year.

The company posted sales of SAR2.55 billion (US$681m) for 2009, which marked an increase of just 1.5% on the SAR2.52 billion (US$671m) it recorded during the previous 12 months.

Analysts have said the Saudi market was the least affected by last year's global recession, but Jarir's performance suggests that consumer caution still left its mark on the local IT retail channel. In the previous two years, the company had grown its turnover by 45% and 16% year-on-year.

Despite seeing its top-line growth squeezed, Jarir remained highly profitable, growing its overall net income by more than 3% to SAR373m (US$99m).

The Riyadh-based outfit didn't provide any comment around the consolidated financial statements, but it did confirm that its retail business in Saudi Arabia - which sell books, office supplies, education equipment and IT - once again represented the bulk of its operations.

Data showing its expenses also revealed that computers and related suppliers remained top of its net inventories by some distance, costing SAR173m (US$46m) last year.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, Jarir has a retail presence in Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.

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